hygieneI’m betting that not all of the patients in your practice who have dental needs have made arrangements to have that dentistry completed.  That would most certainly NOT make your practice unusual. It would also not be unusual for many or most of those patients to be people who are proactive and health conscious. For whatever reason, they have not yet experienced a compelling reason to make the decision to move forward, even though they do that in other areas of their lives. Most dentists attribute this to money. Truth is, most of these patients have made other decisions that illustrate their ability to make the money work when they value something. Some patients need to experience a bump to help them move on the path of addressing their dental needs. A “Hygiene Bump Day” can provide a boost in their ability to take action.

Creating a “Hygiene Bump Day”

Perform a chart audit of uncompleted treatment and create a list of patients who need both a hygiene appointment and dentistry. Select a day and create a schedule for the hygienist (or two hygienists) with only these patients. Do not schedule any patients in your schedule doctor – your job for this day is to provide a bumpfor those patients who have not taken action.  Do your homework on each patient before the Hygiene Bump Day. Review all you know and all you’ve talked about in the past.  Ask your team for help in understanding WHY the patient is in your practice and what is important to them. If photos are part of the patient’s record review them and find some post-treatment photos of other patients that show similar results to those you envision. I recommend that new photos be taken at the beginning of this visit so that you may gather some similar treated photos if photography was not part of the original record or so you can invite the patient to view the new images with you. Following the hygiene therapy and your periodic examination it’s time for you to go to work. Invite the patient to your conference room to review the images that were gathered today and discuss findings of the examination. You want your assistant or financial coordinator to be with you for this conference so that questions may be asked for you to answer. Remember that your patient will hear much more from answers to questions than to “information” presented. It’s a good idea to rehearse your observations with the person who will be with you planning the questions and when they should be asked. Re-acquaint the patient with your previous findings, note any changes that have occurred, illustrate the possibilities, and revisit the benefits of treatment. The same 4 Part Tour that you did at or following the new patient exam is an excellent guideline for the discussion. Patients often need to be brought back to ownership of their dental condition, and if these patients have told us they want to keep their teeth for the rest of their life, it is our responsibility to find ways to help them do that predictably.  A Hygiene Bump Day can provide the doctor/patient time that enables patients to commit to the dentistry they know they need.   SpearTalk Want to continue with this discussion? Take your comments to a few thousand dentists, including the esteemed Spear faculty, on Spear's discussion boards. Don't have access? Sign-up for free today


Commenter's Profile Image Muna Strasser
December 8th, 2014
What a novel concept! So often the hygiene recall exam education is dependent on the knowledge and motivation of the hygienist, as well as the ability to engage patients. I have been surprised by how many hygienists in my past really didn't value dentistry themselves, and didn't have the knowledge to help patients understand the value, and yet I walked away praying the hygienist was having a good day and would do my job for me. If they hadn't gotten it following the first exam and tour or consult, I revisited it for restorative appointments or left it up to the hygienist. This is a great idea!
Commenter's Profile Image Pei-Wei Hsu
December 9th, 2014
May I know what 4part tour is?
Commenter's Profile Image Gary DeWood
December 10th, 2014
The 4 part tour is part of the workshop Facially Generated Treatment Planning and consists of Esthetics - Function - Structure - Biology. We take this tour with patients to make them aware of what we see.